PLAIN TALK ABOUT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
WHO SUFFERS FROM ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION? Erectile Dysfunction affects almost all men at one time or another in their lives. It affects as many as 30 million American men, including 30 – 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 70. It’s a tough topic to talk about, and sadly, some men feel too embarrassed or uncomfortable to bring this to the attention of their doctors.
In many cases, erectile dysfunction can be addressed successfully. If you need help with erectile dysfunction, a good sex therapist can make it safe and comfortable to discuss openly.
WHAT IS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION? Erectile Dysfunction is the regular inability to get or maintain a firm enough erection to be able to achieve sexual penetration, or to achieve non-penetrative sexual activity satisfactorily. Most men have had occasional difficulty with their penis either becoming hard, or remaining firm. Erectile dysfunction refers to the persistent failure to achieve satisfactory erection. It has obvious and numerous negative effects on a man’s sex life and marriage.
MEDICAL CAUSES: Erectile Dysfunction is caused either by medical or psychological reasons. Numerous prescription drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol and smoking can all cause erectile dysfunction. Also linked to erectile dysfunction are some common medications for anxiety, and depression, some cancer drugs, opioid painkillers, diuretics and heart mediations. Other medical causes for erectile dysfunction include obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, hormonal disorders, treatments for prostate disease and radiation therapy to the pelvic region. Anyone considering treatment for Erectile Dysfunction should always rule out medical causes first.
PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES: If medical causes have been ruled out, we can consider some psychological causes of erectile dysfunction. Typically, a man suffers from what is called secondary ED, having previously functioned normally but now has difficulty achieving an erection.
GOOD SEX THERAPY: A good sex therapist is a trained professional who can make it safe and comfortable for you to talk openly about erectile dysfunction. A good therapist will look at all the factors contributing to the change in functioning, including depression, stress, fear, anxiety and anger. The therapist will explore problems and stress coming from work, financial challenges, and emotional difficulties. And the therapist will also work sensitively to try to understand self-doubt and performance anxiety, communication issues, and other relationship or marital problems that may be contributing to the erectile dysfunction. Treatment can also include Viagra, or mechanical devices that help achieve an erection.
DO I NEED A PARTNER TO SEEK TREATMENT? Sex therapy will often look to work cooperatively with the patient and his partner, if he has one, to develop a plan or program of homework and sexual exercises designed for the partnership to work together to overcome the dysfunction. If a man is involved in a healthy relationship, this can strengthen and enrich the bond.
You don’t need to have a partner, however, to seek sex therapy for erectile dysfunction. Self-stimulation and masturbation can be used to develop healthy sexual functioning.